A recently disclosed government report titled A Review of the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General’s Process for Handling Military Whistleblower Reprisal Allegations shows that because of insufficient resources, a lack of training for investigators, and a number of other problems, MRI—the system in the Defense Department that has been set up to investigate cases of retaliation against military whistleblowers—”has not been able to come close to resolving complaints within the statutory 180-day deadline.”
POGO—the Project on Government Oversight—obtained a copy of the 2009 report, which was written by the office of the Justice Department Inspector General. In a statement, POGO’s director of investigations Nick Schwellenbach said the following: “The Wikileaks experience is a reminder that there should be safe harbors inside the government for military personnel to blow the whistle. We are glad to see the DOD IG added resources into this essential program, but this is a problem that can’t be fixed just by throwing money at it – the laws need to be strengthened.”
The report found that MRI “has not had a high profile within the DOD OIG.” In addition, the report states that “MRI should do more to ensure that cases delegated to the service IGs are assigned for investigation outside the chain of command of the involved parties.”
According to the Defense Department IG’s March 2010 semi-annual report to Congress, the department has made “significant progress in implementing the recommendations” made in the 2009 government report.
For Further Reading
From POGO: National Security Whistleblowers Push for Passage of Whistleblower Protection Act, November 22, 2010 (An Open Letter to President Barack Obama, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Congressman John Boehner, Senator Mitch McConnell, Senator Harry Reid)
– Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger